Access Bank shares closed the first week in January 2017 as the third best gainer. Its share price rose 6.98% to N6.28 after opening the week at N5.87  This was the highest in about a year.

Access Bank issued press release on Friday informing the market that its board had sat to approve its audited financial statement. The bigger news that however made rounds was an interview granted by the CEO of the Bank, Herbert Wigwe. As reported by Bloomberg , Mr Wigwe revealed that non performing loans for his bank by the end of 2016 will rise from about the 2.2% reported in the first 9 months of the year but will come under 3%. Non performing loans for rival First Bank is over 20%.

In addition to that, he also sounded very confident about the liquidity position of the bank revealing that the recently concluded bond offering by the bank had provided it with the much-needed liquidity to compete. He also mentioned that his bank will be focusing on lending money to Nigerian companies who source raw materials locally. Here is an excerpt of the interview

“Across the entire industry you’ll see an uptick in non-performing loan ratios,” Chief Executive Officer Herbert Wigwe said in an interview on Thursday in Lagos, the commercial hub. “We are better than most.”

Nigeria’s fourth-largest bank by assets expects that its NPLs will climb to “slightly below” 3 percent of total loans by the end of this year, Wigwe said, compared with 2.1 percent for the nine months through September.

Access Bank has managed to get into an “extremely liquid” position by raising 35 billion naira in the last quarter of 2016 by tapping a 100 billion-naira commercial bond program, he said.

“We will continue to raise until we can get to that program limit; some of it may mature, which we will repay, then raise again,” Wigwe said. “The whole idea is that we must always have that liquidity buffer.”

Nairametrics also ran an article on Friday, suggesting that the stock could be on the verge of a bull run as its fundamentals seem to be of renewed interest with investors. This interview could also swell investors interest toward the stock.

Ugo Obi-chukwu "Ugodre" is a chartered accountant with over 16 years experience in financial management, corporate finance and financial analysis. He is also a retail investor and a personal finance advocate with over a decade experience investing in the Nigerian stock market. Ugo is the founder/Publisher of Nairametrics and blogs regularly on the website.

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